President Joe Biden announced the purchase of an additional 500 million COVID-19 tests as part of an effort to boost testing as the country faces an increase in the number of cases due to the highly contagious variant of ‘Omicron.
The announcement comes in addition to the 500 million additional home COVID-19 tests the Biden administration purchased in December, which begins to be distributed later this month. The administration is also preparing a website that will allow people to order these tests for free.
“Today, as part of the president’s remarks and briefing, he will announce that in addition to the 500 million tests that we are in the process of acquiring, he is asking his team to procure 500 million additional tests for meet future demand. ” said a White House official.
Experts recognize that while the additional testing is badly needed, it is still not enough to meet the demands of a population of 330 million people.
Last week, a group of Congressional Democrats called on the Biden administration to beef up the nation’s testing apparatus so that every American can take at least one rapid test per week.
“Ensuring widespread access to free rapid tests for COVID-19 is among the most effective public health tools the federal government has, but the current shortage of supplies prevents the effective use of this common sense mitigation strategy. They wrote in a letter to the President.
“While we are pleased to see that the administration has committed to purchasing 500 million antigen tests which will be distributed free nationwide, we believe the threat from the Omicron variant demands the most urgent public health response. more comprehensive possible from the federal government, ”they added. “We urge you to consider and implement the following policies to leverage your administration’s efforts to increase access to COVID-19 rapid testing. “